Tragedy Of The Anticommons

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When resources cannot be used because their ownership is divided, we have an anticommons. Holdout problems are the classic example. Closely related to the Prisoner's Dilemma. See also the Tragedy Of The Commons. That is why many natural resources such as air are not private property.


Eminent Domain (5 links)
Libertarians hate this limitation on property rights, ranting incessantly. And when used corruptly, it is detestable to all. But it does have an important role to play in overcoming a common market failure called the Tragedy Of The Anticommons. The key concept is that property ownership is not an unmitigated good, and, worse yet, it can lead to economic gridlock and underutilization of resources.
Intellectual Property Reform (11 links)
Many others besides libertarians propose reform or abolition of intellectual property, in part because there has been substantial regulatory capture. Some libertarians oppose it ideologically because it is obviously a government creation, others scream "my property!" Many non-libertarians pragmatically question whether it actually advances the useful arts. When intellectual property expires, it is returned to the commons; thus shortening of terms is often desired. The US Constitution does not mandate intellectual property because even then it was controversial whether it was a net benefit. A good alternative has been public subsidy of research.
Roads (10 links)
The "who will build the roads?" question has become an inside joke for libertarians. So much so that they don't even debate or discuss it anymore. They just regurgitate "privatize everything!" despite the fact that history shows their solutions don't work except in rare cases.
The Permission Problem [More...]
A good explanation of the Tragedy Of The Anticommons market failure based on the book "The Gridlock Economy: How Too Much Ownership Wrecks Markets, Stops Innovation, and Costs Lives" by Michael Heller.


Anybody who knows the history of the timber industry knows that a lot of libertarian ideas have already been tried in the western US and were a disaster. For people, for the environment, and for markets. Private towns, company stores, "homesteading," the list goes on. It's already been done.
GhostofRFS (pseudonym), "My experience with private roads and why libertarians have no idea what they're talking about"